Cameras a no-no and should be taken out

A STEELY Wayne Bennett glare, right down the barrel of a camera attached to the wall of the Broncos change room at Suncorp Stadium last Thursday night, has once again inflamed of one of my pet aversions - the privacy of NRL players, coaches and staff.

In a bygone era, the veteran coach would have told a staff member to throw a towel over the camera.

I know, because I was often 'ordered' to do exactly that.

But these days, fines are imposed for such 'insolence', so discretion is the better part of valour.

As regular readers of this column would probably have gauged by now, I am a rugby league addict. I love the game, and have done since I was a kid.

But certain components still irk me. And one of those is the sneaky TV camera in the corner of the dressing room.

If nothing else, the cameras are an invasion of privacy.

Sure it might give fans an insight into what happens pre and post-match, and also at half-time, but why do we need that to satisfy our cravings?

And why, pray tell me, is this intrusion only in the NRL and, to a lesser extent, the Super Rugby competition?

I am not an avid watcher of the English Premier League or the high-profile NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball in America, but when I have tuned in I don't recall any dressing room shots.

Cricket in this country, and most certainly netball, do not allow cameras in their change rooms and while the AFL does, that access is limited to pre-game warm-ups and the post-match victory song.

And last week on the excellent Back Page show on pay-TV, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika condemned the pay TV network for showing him brandishing a golf club during a pre-match address to the Waratahs last season.

"I was told by you people that would not be broadcast," he said.

What the supposedly insatiable public needs to understand is that the change rooms are essentially the office of the players, the coach and the assisting staff.

In reality - for the players - it is their game day boudoir, where they change, take a shower and use the toilet.

And like the rest of us in the privacy of our own homes, they should not need to be wary of prying cameras.

And at half-time why should a coach have to temper his address or alter his body language because of a snooping camera?

Surely, like Channel 9 boss David Gyngell, he is entitled to solitude in his 'office'.

If the TV networks are so obsessed with showing dressing room footage, they should at least seek permission from the coaches. I doubt many would agree to that request.

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